Tomorrow’s Council of Australian Governments (COAG) meeting will discuss paid family and domestic violence leave, presenting Minister for both Employment and Women Michaelia Cash with the perfect opportunity to demonstrate leadership on this important issue.

Australian Unions believe employers have a critical role to play in helping women and men who are experiencing family and domestic violence stay safe and stay employed, and are undertaking 16 days of activism and workplace activities across the country in support of paid leave.

The ACTU is mounting a claim in the Fair Work Commission (FWC) for 10 days family and domestic violence leave to be included in all modern awards. Our submission argued that workers experiencing violence at home should be able to access ten days of paid leave per year to allow them to deal with all the issues that arise out of a family or domestic violence situation, like seeking medical assistance, attending court, relocating or making safety arrangements for themselves or their children. A decision in the case is expected to be handed down in the first half of 2017.

Even if the claim is successful, there will still be around half the workforce left without access to paid family or domestic violence leave. Only decisive action from state and federal governments will close this gap, and ensure all workers have access to this critical workplace entitlement.

Quotes attributable to ACTU Secretary Dave Oliver:

“Family and domestic violence is a scourge on society that can no longer be kept behind closed doors.”

“It is everybody’s business, and all of us have the moral imperative to do whatever we can to help – and this includes providing financial as well as emotional support in the workplace.”

“Union members are calling for 10 days paid leave per year for all Australian workers – which can be the difference between someone remaining trapped in a dangerous situation or escaping – and we need decisive action from state and federal leaders at COAG.”

“This is the perfect opportunity for Michaelia Cash to show some leadership and make one of the most important social and industrial social interventions of recent times – one that will change cultural attitudes, prevent violence, and save lives.”